Chiswick, Woollahra

In a part of Sydney where space is at a premium, stepping onto the large grounds of Chiswick is like finding an oasis.

A winter night at Chiswick

A winter night at Chiswick

Walking off busy Ocean Street and onto the property set in established gardens feels almost like you’re being led towards a private residence.  A walk along the arbour leads to the restaurant’s entrance, and as you stroll you see the twinkling lights of the bar and dining area through multiple paned-glass windows.

The grounds

The grounds

Chiswick is co-owned by Matt Moran and Peter Sullivan and together they have created a restaurant with an emphasis on communal dining.  There is a bar area, a long communal dining table, an undercover outdoor heated dining area and a large indoor dining room.

The arbour

The arbour


The emphasis on the dining experience is that in keeping with the communal feel, all dishes brought to the table are designed to be shared.  The menu has a strong emphasis on seasonal produce because the restaurant’s kitchen opens onto a 150-square metre vegetable patch where the restaurant’s gardener grows produce for the kitchen.  What is picked that day is presented on plates that evening.

Very pretty

Very pretty

On the last day of autumn our party of 10 headed into Chiswick for the shared-plate seasonal produce dining experience.  Because we had a group reservation, we dined from the ‘Collective Menu’ that is set at $80.00 per person.

A beautiful setting

A beautiful setting

A word of warning, if you are celebrating a special occasion, Chiswick does not allow you to bring into the restaurant your own cake however, if you do mention in advance that you require a cake, the chefs are happy to create something special for you.

Illuminated trees

Illuminated trees

Chiswick is also busy and the aim is to have more than one sitting during the dinner service.  We were given the choice of either a 6pm or an 8.30pm sitting and chose to dine at the earlier time.

Covered outdoor dining

Covered outdoor dining

When we arrived the restaurant was already bustling with a large crowd at the bar and at the communal table.  There were a lot of outdoor diners and clearly the heaters were working well as nobody seemed to be cold.

The bar

The bar

We were shown to a long table at one end of the large dining room and I sat at the end of the table.  I could feel cold air coming from the air conditioning that was strong enough to have my blouse blowing around and as it was a cold evening, I asked the waiter if he could have the air-conditioning turned down.  He said, ‘I’ll have to speak to the manager’ and off he went.  No change.

Bar area with the communal table

Bar area with the communal table

There is no shortage of waitstaff and our drink orders were taken quickly.  The Autumn Collective Menu is a four-course meal and the food started arriving quickly.

The long dining room

The long dining room

First out of the kitchen was the wood-fired garlic bread with garden thyme.  The bread was very flat and crisp with a sprinkle of light seasoning.  This went well with our pre-dinner drink.

Wood-fired bread

Wood-fired garlic bread with garden thyme

Then we had a dish of heirloom carrots with macadamias, cumin and tarragon.  This was a very pretty dish with some lovely subtle flavours.

Carrots

Heirloom carrots with macadamias, cumin and tarragon

The last appetiser was the baby artichoke, romesco and espelette pepper.  I do love artichokes but you don’t see them all that often on menus.  Romesco is a Spanish sauce made with nuts and red peppers.  Espellette pepper is found in the Pyrenees and comes from a chilli plant so is reddish in colour.  It’s mild in heat and works well with red peppers.

Baby artichoke

Baby artichoke, romesco and espelette pepper

The first dish from the entree section was the petuna ocean trout with pickled daikon, apple and finger lime.  At first I thought it was smoked salmon.  Everyone thought the sharpness of the finger lime and pickles were a lovely contrast to the creamy, velvety texture of the fish.

trout

Petuna trout with pickled daikon, apple and finger lime

My hands-down most favourite dish of the evening was the crispy fried quail with ginger and shallot.  The quail was dipped in a buttermilk batter and fried until definitely crispy.  There was a sprinkle of ginger and shallot and a kewpie mayonnaise dipping sauce.  Sensational and I could eat that over and over.

Crispy quail

Crispy fried quail with ginger and shallot

Then we had garden cucumber with Woodside goat’s curd and oregano.  This was a very refreshing dish and a good balance if you’ve just eaten half a plate of fried quail.  I was unaware what a good match cucumber and goat’s curd are together.

Cucumber

Garden cucumber with Woodside goat’s curd and oregano

The main courses were next to arrive and a whole grilled pink snapper with charred broccolini, capers and lemon was put in front of us.  The flesh came away from the fish very easily but you do need to be careful here as Drew choked on a bone!

Snapper

Whole grilled pink snapper with charred broccolini, capers and lemon

Arriving with cutlery stabbed through it was the wood-roasted Moran shoulder of lamb with zucchini, tomato and mint.  This would have been my next favourite dish after the quail.  The lamb was so very tender and fell away from the bone with just a nudge.  And I do like lamb with mint sauce.

lamb

Wood-roasted Moran lamb with zucchini, tomato and mint

By this point I was pretty full but there was still the whole roasted chicken with grilled corn, miso and green shallot to get through.  The chicken was wonderful and this was a great comfort dish and rather like being invited around to your best friend’s house for a Sunday roast – a good one.

Roasted chicken

Whole roasted chicken with grilled corn, miso and green shallot

Served with the three dishes were plates of green beans with lemon and olive oil.  The beans were still vibrantly green with a tenderness but still a bit of crunch – perfect.

Desserts on the Collective Menu are alternate serve and there are two.  I was given the lemon pavlova with blackberry ripple.  It had lovely presentation although I did find the pavlova a little dry and a fraction too sweet.

Lemon pavlova

Lemon pavlova with blackberry ripple ice cream

Drew had the caramel parfait with peanut praline and black figs.  Absolutely no complaints from Drew.  This was a wonderful dessert that was rich and sweet but totally devoured by all around the table.

Caramel

Caramel parfait with peanut praline and black figs

It was time for the next sitting and so our table was cleared and we were up and away.

Chiswick is a restaurant serving seasonal food in a casual yet sophisticated atmosphere.  The dishes aren’t complex, fussy or tortured; just honest, real and identifiable.  And these days that can be refreshing.

Covered outdoor dining

Covered outdoor dining

The cool breeze from the air-conditioning dissipated as the room became more busy which was a relief.  We did have a rather unusual waitress who startled us with some odd comments but all other staff ran the traditional road of being less familiar.  Apart from that and apart from feeling like we were being rushed through to make way for the next sitting, Chiswick is a wonderful dining experience and the restaurant does run like a well-oiled machine.  With its communal table, specific menu for groups, and shared-plate philosophy, this is the perfect venue for larger bookings.

The grounds

The grounds

Verdict:  Generous, quality, seasonal dishes in a vibrant, engaging setting.

A beautiful setting

A beautiful setting

Chiswick:  65 Ocean Street, Woollahra NSW 2025

Ph:  61 2 8388 8688

 

Comments

  1. Wow you do get out and about, Charlie… Chiswick sounds fab!

  2. Looks like another one to add to the list when I go to Sydney… at this rate I am going to have to be there for 3 weeks!
    Liz xx

  3. pamela.hayward7650@gmail.com says:

    Haven’t been there but thanks for your comments! Sounds lovely!

  4. Looks charming, with the exception of the chilly aircon at the start of the evening and your odd waitress.

  5. That looks like terrific value for money and I’m sure no one went home hungry. I’m curious about what the waitress said now……

  6. That’s interesting Charlie. We were at Aria Brisbane last night which is fine dining; very refined and so well run. Matt Moran knows his stuff!

  7. Sounds interesting – I would have loved to have had a wander among those kitchen gardens in daylight – and those carrots look really pretty

  8. Crispy fried quail…mmm…We might just have the same taste, Charlie!

    Julie & Alesah
    Gourmet Getaways xx

  9. That quail does sound fantastic! I would have to have been rolled out of there. So much delicious food! Love the setting too.

  10. Oh quail such a menu rarity and the Lemon Pavlova!
    You are so lucky to dine there, I want too. 😀

  11. This looks like a unique and lovely dining experience. I always wonder, though, how you manage to eat all of that food.

  12. What an elegant meal. Such interesting flavor combinations. I’m always intrigued by the difference in cuisines in different countries.

  13. I was just thinking about how complex and fussy dishes at restaurants are getting tiresome. These dishes do look refreshing, and I want to taste that quail!

  14. Oh, what a lovely place – and good of them for serving seasonal produce – wish more chefs did this and understood the seasons!

  15. The food all sounds wonderful though I might have picked the later sitting so as not to be rushed especially with a large group that may not all arrive on time, order and get served at the same time.

  16. What a gracious environment, or so it seems to me. It could be noisy and too boisterous with the communal aspect, but it appears to have the right quality of liveliness without being uncomfortable. I’m afraid that my largest complaint almost everywhere we dine is temperature! It’s always too cold for me. I don’t like “refrigerated air” blowing when it isn’t really hot, and I’m apparently in the minority. What a lovely place to dine with friends, Charlie.

  17. Looks like a terrific spot to dine! I would have been freezing along with you, but glad it warmed up as the night went on. We’ve met some nice folks at communal tables 🙂

  18. What a lovely and thorough description of this interesting degustation menu! I truly hope it brings many Sydneysiders to the ‘Chiswick’ table . . . for me it brings absolutely thousands of memories when it was ‘Pruniers’ where the cognoscenti in the Eastern Suburbs had their pre-theatre meal or a long, long, long wonderful dinners till the lights dimmed! Or, if you really ‘belonged’ you could actually have a waiter bring your meal home way ahead of any ‘takeaway’ even thought of. Their mudcrab salad was incredible: hope Matt Moran has put something like it on the menu . . .

    • So many people have very warm memories of wonderful lunches and dinners at Pruniers. I was never fortunate enough to get to Pruniers. How interesting that for some ‘clients’, they could have their meal delivered!

  19. Looks to be my kind of place Charlie! The food looks and sounds great too!
    It has been on my list, but each trip to Sydney, I seem to miss out experiencing…one day!

  20. Annie Potts says:

    I remember coming here for ‘A Special Occassion ‘ dinner many years ago with my Grandparents when it was known as Pruniers . Wonderful old historic building . The food looks wonderful but how did you get the short straw and get stuck in limbo under the aircon at the end of the table ? Bloody Bad Luck ! Next time head for a middle seat so you can at least hear the conversation . Was it a celebration ? Maybe you were being kind by letting the special guest be centre of attention ? I must go back after reading this . Another great post !!!

  21. You go to the best places! The air conditioning issue would have made me unhappy. I don’t enjoy my meal when I sit there wishing I had a blanket.

  22. Charlie this is such a coincidence. I was invited to a 30th lunch there last weekend but couldn’t make it. Now I feel like I was there because that is the exact menu my friend described to me!

  23. Apart from the chilly start and being somewhat rushed, your meal was sensational!
    Have a happy day Charlie.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  24. Looks great Charlie. i am glad you enjoyed it but I so hate it when you have to be rushed out the door!

  25. Aside from the inappropriate air conditioning, everything sounds amazing! It’s so rare to find a restaurant where every course is just fabulous.

  26. Glad the AC turned out not to be a problem. I hate restaurants where it’s either too hot or too cold. Anyway, what a feast! Everything looks terrific — sounds like a fun experience. Thanks for taking us along, virtually speaking!

  27. I’m hungry looking at all those delicious plates! They were very generous sizes too, I can imagine you were quite full after all that food! Not too full for dessert though, it’s funny, I can be over stuffed but somehow, always have room for dessert 🙂

  28. Wow the food looks amazing! The desserts especially. I don’t like it when a restaurant’s too cold, but glad you liked the food anyway.

  29. I dislike sitting under air conditioning vents too! And I’m now wondering what the comments from the waitress were Charlie! 😛

  30. Chiswick is so picturesque isn’t it? Feels like you’re in the middle of a botanic garden!

  31. as you know i recently visited aria in brisbane charlie which was a really fab night. calm surroundings and lovely food. matt knows his stuff!

Speak Your Mind

*